See you later QWERTY, welcome the invisible keyboard
By G+ Author: Jacquelyn Tanner.
Apparently there are a bunch of mobile app startups and developers out there that are not happy with the current QWERTY keyboard. Though I do find the touch screen keyboard incredibly annoying (still, 2 years later) I never thought it was the letter organization that was the problem. Below are two keyboards that want to better your typing experience by removing the entire QWERTY setup.
The first keyboard is from SnapKeys’ it is titled Si Evolution. To fully understand how Si Evolution works you really need to watch the video (eh maybe even then you wont fully understand); for those who do not want to watch the video here is Natasha Lomas of Tech Crunch’s description.
“Its Android keyboard software disrupts the traditional Qwerty layout by grouping letters into four islands, with more commonly used letters appearing larger than others. This arrangement leaves the majority of the screen empty to display whatever is underneath.
Indeed, even SnapKeys’ four key-carrying islands can be made invisible once the user is comfortable they know where they need to tap. An entirely invisible keyboard is clearly one better than the translucency Apple has added to its native keyboard in iOS 7, allowing content like photos to be viewed in full at the same time as typing.
The most notable change in the full version of SnapKeys’ keyboard software as it comes out of beta is that it’s switched the order of the letters to an alphabetic one, instead of its prior arrangement (right) which required users to learn an entirely new letter order. Clearly that was proving a disruption too far.
As well as the full-fat version of its invisible keyboard app, SnapKeys is launching an IM app called LetSnap which deploys its invisible keyboard in a photo-sharing IM app — apparently hoping to piggyback on the wider momentum driving mobile photo-sharing and messaging apps at present. If SnapKeys can get people using its messaging app, it’s also crucially teaching them how to use its keyboard. And since re-education is the biggest barrier to any would-be Qwerty killer that’s clever thinking.”
The second keyboard design, Minuum brought to us by Whirlscape, was written about by Darrel Etherington. Again, to get the full idea you really should watch the video, nonetheless the following is a written description.
“The keyboard layout, as you can see, is squeezed down, but still retains a basic QWERTY layout. It then suggests words, based on typing that’s designed to do as much as it can with incredibly imprecise input. You only have to tap on the basic area, and then you can cycle through suggestions if the first one isn’t correct. There isn’t even a space bar by default; it’s designed to be as minimal as possible. Gestures control cycling between different keyboards, too, including all-caps and numeric input.”
I think both keyboards, in theory, sounds really awesome. However I imagine they would take a lot of getting used to and I dont know if most people would have the patience for it. Si Evolution, in its video, promises that for the most part finishing your words will not be needed because the app has the ability to suggest nearly all of your intended words. This, for me, is a problem because I am one of those people who likes to text like “heyyyyy homeskittle wattsgoiiin on witchu 2day?” (I am who I am). A keyboard that functions mostly on autosuggest would simply not work with my creative vocabulary Lastly, something I greatly miss about the good ‘ol days of 3D keyboards is the ability to type without looking at the screen. I realize it is already hard to type on a touchscreen without having to look at your phone, nonetheless it will become even harder when you have to choose from a list of suggested words.
What do you guys think, do these keyboards looks like a breath of fresh air or overwhelming and complicated?